Ángel Díaz, Class of 2014
1) What brought you to law school?
My relationship to IP and privacy is informed by growing up the child of undocumented Salvadorans. For us, corporate trademarks signify places that are safe or unsafe to visit; we are guarded about health privacy because it affects job security; we hesitate to use social media because it can be used as an extortion tool back home. I wanted to bring that perspective to law school, and learn how I could use it to positively impact regulation of the emerging technology sector.
2) Please describe the position(s) you held on BTLJ and when.
I was a member of the journal all three years of law school, but I was an Annual Review Editor from 2012-2013.
3) Please describe your most memorable law school moment.
Learning about the Supreme Court’s systematic dismantling of affirmative action programs. I’ll always be in debt to Professor Haney-Lopez for helping me spot judicial sleights of hand, and the ways in which words can be op-opted to perpetuate oppression.
4) Please describe your current professional position and your journey there.
Before law school, I worked in the legal department at Google, which was where I was first exposed to a group of amazing lawyers working at the vanguard of emerging technology and the law. I’ve been hooked ever since.
Currently, I’m a Technology Associate in Gunderson Dettmer’s New York office. I advise startup companies and venture capital funds with issues varying from protecting their IP assets to implementing privacy and data security policies that comply with ever-changing legal and regulatory regimes.
Prior to joining Gunderson, I practiced in the New York office of Proskauer Rose, where I advised clients regarding privacy and data security compliance, including data breach response. While in law school I was Book Reviews and Essays Editor of the California Law Review in addition to my work at BTLJ, and I was an extern for Judge Yvonne Gonzalez Rogers in the United States District Court for the Northern District of California.
5) What are some lessons you learned from participating in BTLJ that are relevant to your professional life?
BTLJ attracts law students that will be all over the technology field—be nice to them! The weekends I spent cite-checking footnotes or playing kickball in Willard Park created an incredible network that continues to be professionally and personally enriching. I’m only a few years out of law school, but already have BTLJ colleagues at non-profits, firms, government, and law schools across the country. It’s invaluable to have such an expansive rolodex in a practice area that’s this dynamic.
BTLJ was also my very first introduction to legal scholarship. If I hadn’t taken Professor Menell’s Law and Technology Writing Workshop, I never would have considered academia as a career path. Through BTLJ, publishing became a part of my legal career before I even graduated. With some luck, it’ll always be a part of it.
6) What advice do you have for current law students?
Don’t skip office hours! Professors are wonderful mentors that will help you in ways beyond statutory interpretation.
7) What is one piece of advice you would give to new lawyers?
Stay up on legal developments; you’ll be very valuable to older attorneys. Curate a good list of Twitter follows, set up an RSS feed, even some legal podcasts are surprisingly entertaining and informative!